Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekend news including Pakistani Taliban indictment

1. Jay Weaver expounds on a story the blog broke earlier this week involving the dismissal against 27 defendants. Here's a bit from the front page story in the Herald:

Federal agents dubbed the case “Operation Cedar Sweep,” zeroing in on South Florida head-shop owners of mostly Lebanese descent. Some were suspected of selling “cut” for cocaine and sending profits to the Middle East for possible terrorist activities.

But after a two-year FBI investigation with undercover police officers, Miami federal prosecutors lacked evidence to make terrorism support cases. And this week, prosecutors also decided to drop drug-related charges against 27 defendants, many of whom had been detained since their arrests early this year.
The U.S. attorney’s office, which traditionally does not explain why it drops charges, issued a statement, saying “new information surfaced that, in our discretion, made it appropriate to dismiss the charges.”

“At this time, I cannot provide further details of what that information entailed, as it is not in the public record,” said Alicia Valle, special counsel to the U.S. attorney.

She described the investigation as “Operation Clear Cut” in an email to The Miami Herald — not “Operation Cedar Sweep,” which defense attorneys say refers to the Lebanese national tree and a symbol that appears prominently on its flag.

In February, the U.S. attorney’s office issued a press release crediting the investigative work of nearly a dozen federal and local enforcement agencies that led to the 13 narcotics-related indictments of 27 defendants, all owners or employees of head shops in South Florida. Among the targeted shops: Mushroom Novelty & Gifts, Hip Hop Gift Shop and Rainbow 7 in Miami-Dade, as well as head-shop operators at the Oakland Park Flea Market in Broward.

2. Here's another scoop -- the U.S. Attorney's office brought a major indictment yesterday, with arrests today, against six people for providing material support to the Pakistani Taliban. Here's the indictment, which fell before Judge Jordan.

From the press release:

The four-count indictment charges Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan (“Khan”), 76, a U.S. citizen and resident of Miami; his son Irfan Khan, 37, a U.S. citizen and resident of Miami; and one of his other sons, Izhar Khan, 24, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Lauderdale, Fla. Three other individuals residing in Pakistan, Ali Rehman, aka “Faisal Ali Rehman;” Alam Zeb; and Amina Khan, aka “Amina Bibi,” are also charged in the indictment. Amina Khan is the daughter of Khan and her son, Alam Zeb, is Khan’s grandson.

All six defendants are charged with conspiring to provide, and providing, material support to a conspiracy to murder, maim and kidnap persons overseas, as well as conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically, the Pakistani Taliban. Defendants Khan, Rehman and Zeb are also charged with providing material support to the Pakistani Taliban.

Willy Ferrer said: “Let me be clear that this is not an indictment against a particular community or religion. Instead, today’s indictment charges six individuals for promoting terror and violence through their financial and other support of the Pakistani Taliban. Radical extremists know no boundaries; they come in all shapes and sizes and are not limited by religion, age, or geography.”

3. Many of you have been emailing me asking with concern about Michael Walsh. Thankfully, I have heard that he is OK.


Anonymous said...

For once, I completely agree with Mr. Ferrer:

"Radical extremists know no boundaries; they come in all shapes and sizes and are not limited by religion, age, or geography.”

I would, however, add one caveat:

"By geography, I mean these radical extremists (who believe they are doing "God's Work" and are true believers) can be located in any District, although they are predominantly centralized at main Justice in Washington."


On a 5-0 tear against DOJ

Anonymous said...

I just read the indictment. How transparent and pathetic for all involved on the government side, to put "Sivashree Sundaram" on the case.

Is that prosecutor required by DOJ to wear a traditioanl Turban, or can he get away with donning his karakuli?

Really. That's is gosh beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

Siva is a girl. I've never seen her wear a turban. Or a burka either, which is good since she's pretty cute.

Anonymous said...

5-0 tear? Sounds like creative accounting.

Mark Bennett said...

One of the dismissed defendants had already pleaded guilty, which I think does away with the "there were aspects of the terrorism investigation that would have come to light had prosecutors taken the drug-related charges to trial" theory.

Anonymous said...

it would only be creative if i added state court not guilty verdicts to the federal not guilty verdicts. then it would be 14-0

him blacker than you

Anonymous said...

Am I the only pin-head giggling at the name "Sher Khan"...flashback of Jungle Book!

Anonymous said...


Are you ok? The picture of you in the review today - it looks like like you've aged 20 years. Take car brother.

Anonymous said...

I'm with 3:25. She's smart and very attractive.